Delhi seemed to have an afternoon flight to catch and they were spot on schedule. Their second innings folded out for 164; about 50 minutes post lunch on Day Three. Maybe, a leisurely Sunday beckoned back home.
On a serious note, Delhi batters yet again let themselves down badly and Karnataka won the game by an innings and 160 runs without breaking much sweat. They revelled in their opposition’s batting naivety. The third day pitch was a bit up and down and the odd ball stopped and a few kept low. But it was never unplayable. Delhi, however, didn’t have the stomach for a fight, looking woefully short of skill and application.
Unmukt Chand and Gautam Gambhir went for an impossible single in the very first ball of the day. The latter survived only because he escaped a direct hit.
But Gambhir never looked assured. A tame poke to an Abhimanyu Mithun’s outswinger was an accident waiting to happen. Dhruv Shorey was cleaned up next ball by a delivery that kept a little low. Nitish Rana avoided the hat-trick and added 50 runs for the third wicket with Chand. But the left-hander was never comfortable against K Gowtham’s off-spin. He was trapped leg before playing down the wrong line. Rishabh Pant didn’t respect the conditions and opposition bowling. He started off with a six over long-on against Gowtham but the bowler didn’t mind the aggression. He had set a trap, keeping a substantial gap between point and cover, and Pant fell into it. The southpaw went for an expansive drive to a loopy off-break and was done in by the turn. “The only thing, the advice I have given him is that there are certain pitches where you need to have certain ball selection; the shot selection that we talk about. You can’t play the same pattern on every pitch,” Delhi coach KP Bhaskar chose not to be over-critical.
Then, Milind Kumar bagged a pair . Two balls later Gowtham removed Manan Sharma. Hara-kiri at the other end affected Chand’s composure. He attempted a mindless slog-sweep and perished to a skier.
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Bhaskar blasts batting, DDCA
The Delhi coach made no bones about his dissatisfaction. “It wasn’t a 90-run pitch. We didn’t apply at all. We threw our wickets away, twice. Today was absolutely silly. It was all (because of) stupid shots; shots that you don’t expect from a Ranji Trophy player,” Bhaskar said, adding: “We are used to playing 40 over games. We don’t have three-day formats. We don’t really play the Buchi Babus and the KSCA. So what happened was I got the team two days before (the season’s start). There wasn’t much of mental preparation.” Asked if the problems at the DDCA have been a reason for Delhi cricketing slump, he replied in the affirmative. “Last time at Under-23s we had 45 players playing. Tomorrow if things don’t improve there, we might have 50 players playing in the Ranji Trophy in the eight games that we have. Things need to be put in place but at least there’s a start. Justice Mudgal has taken the initiative. It’s a start, let’s hope things improve.”
Brief scores: Delhi 90 all out and 164 all out in 43 overs (V Sood 41*; K Gowtham 5/35) lost to Karnataka 414 all out by an innings and 160 runs. Points: Karnataka 7, Delhi 0.